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First, second, third? September 10, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was struck by the sequence of engagement outlined by Arlene Foster this week. As noted on Slugger she spoke at a ‘Vision For Unionism: Beyond 2021’ event where she outlined her idea that:

First, we must engage with any, and all, supporters of the Union, regardless of whether we hold fundamentally different views on party, policy or society.

Second, we must engage Northern Ireland’s minority ethnic and new communities. Multi-generational ethnic communities became an intrinsic part of Northern Ireland. This diversity has been augmented by the larger migrations of the last twenty years.

Third, we must engage with those of a nationalist background. This is the strand of work that will be treated with the greatest scepticism, and will require the longest-term commitment, a generational commitment. We are not planting seeds for Unionism in the hope of a quick harvest. We are planting oaks to grow deep roots, and it is future generations, who will reap the benefit of our work.

Clearly the idea, to judge from another line in the piece ‘Unionism must earn the votes of as broad a coalition as possible. Some may be Unionists of the very smallest u, and some may not even consider themselves unionists at all’ this is about consolidating and building political support for the union. But… but… wouldn’t it be easier, if that is her goal to accept a language act etc? Isn’t that the sort of simple pluralistic gesture (attractive to both minority ethnic and new communities and ‘those of a nationalist background’) that would be of a piece with other parts of the union? And it raises the question why in 2019 is she saying this rather than, say, 2016, or earlier?

And that fact alone, that she is raising this now, is most interesting.


1. EWI - September 10, 2019

The placement of first and third, respectively, really does illustrates why this is utterly doomed to failure. There is zero effort in this reiteration of supremacist politics to reach out to or come to an accommodation with Irish nationalism, and that’s why a UI will happen sooner rather than later.

Does she even realise that ‘Taigs’ will read this?

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